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Sports Med. 2018 Mar;48(3):499-505. doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0793-0.

Volume for Muscle Hypertrophy and Health Outcomes: The Most Effective Variable in Resistance Training.

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Center for Muscle Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
University of Kentucky, College of Health Sciences, Charles T. Wethington, Jr. Building, Room 401, Lexington, KY, 40536-0200, USA.
Physical Education Post-Graduation Program, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.


Resistance training is the most effective method to increase muscle mass. It has also been shown to promote many health benefits. Although it is deemed safe and of clinical relevance for treating and preventing a vast number of diseases, a time-efficient and minimal dose of exercise has been the focus of a great number of research studies. Similarly, an inverted U-shaped relationship between training dose/volume and physiological response has been hypothesized to exist. However, the majority of available evidence supports a clear dose-response relationship between resistance training volume and physiological responses, such as muscle hypertrophy and health outcomes. Additionally, there is a paucity of data to support the inverted U-shaped response. Although it may indeed exist, it appears to be much more plastic than previously thought. The overarching principle argued herein is that volume is the most easily modifiable variable that has the most evidenced-based response with important repercussions, be these muscle hypertrophy or health-related outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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